It was a good year, and Christmas with the family was great, but boy is it cold. You know better, but because it was so cold, you took the boxes for the new game console you got your son, and the new living room TV and put them by the road to get picked up by the recycling folks.
Bad move. Now it’s 3 AM and you get woken up by a crash that you know is your back door coming in. What do you do? Luckily, you have a PSA AR-V in the closet ready to go. With a good red dot optic that shake-awake and a sling, you have the tools you need to clear your way down the stairs, and then you see the intruder.
Pressing the switch on your mounted light, you illuminate the burglar, and he looks familiar. In fact very familiar. He’s your neighbor, who had a little too much to drink at a Christmas party. Dropping your PSA AR-V to your chest and it stays there thanks to the sling. Clearly, Jim from down the street is going to be awfully embarrassed about all of this once his hangover wears off, but it’s a good thing he didn’t get hurt.
Hopefully, you never have to use your PSA AR-V for home defense, but the situation we just outlined in the story above happens every holiday season and can happen anytime. Today we’re going to take a look at one of the Palmetto State Armory AR-V in terms of what we think it would be well used for. Then, we’re going to recommend some accessories to outfit it, as well as some of the nitty-gritty on AR pistols. Overall we think this is a good entry into this market space, especially at the prices that PSA charges for well built, made in USA firearms.
The AR-V is clearly an excellent choice for self-defense. We think this is for two big reasons. The first is that it handles much like the AR you’re almost certainly used to. The grip angle is the same as you’re used to, and all the controls are in the spots that you’d expect. This means that any training you already have with the AR will transfer over to the AR-V nicely.
Second, this is a 9mm pistol with a brace, which makes it inherently suitable for home defense. While an AR-15 is great for home defense, something we do worry about is the caliber. The 5.56mm round is great, but it is small and moves fast. That means it’ll move through walls and doors just fine and potentially hurt people that don’t need to be shot. The 9mm, especially in subsonic, is still the premier self-defense round used today, but has a much smaller chance at over-penetrating and putting rounds where they don’t need to be.
Those same characteristics, plus a few more, would make the PSA AR-V a great competition gun as well. You’re already used to how it runs because it is, basically, a blowback AR that will feel familiar in the hand. Additionally, the 10.5” barrel makes the firearm handle well. Without too much weight up front, the AR-V sits nicely on your shoulder as you stay on target. Similarly, the less weight you have in the barrel and up front, the easier to get on the next target as you have less mass to swing around.
Thanks to that short barrel, we’d also see this as a great suppressor host. If you add a suppressor and combine it with some subsonic 9mm rounds, this handy pistol will still be fairly short and will be extremely quiet. Because the barrel is fairly short and light, adding a suppressor will also keep the overall length reasonable and make the platform still handle well, even under high-pressure shooting situations. We’ll get more into the details of suppressors a little later in our review.
We think the PSA AR-V is a good entry into the pistol caliber carbine or AR pistol category. It’s a short, light, easy to use gun that will feel familiar to us all. One feature that stands out to us in this field that it takes not only its own magazines but can take CZ magazines as well. On a similar note, a lot of the parts are standard AR parts, making this an easy gun to integrate into the training and equipment that you already have.
In terms of accessories, here are some that we think would be essential to running the AR-V to its full potential. We’re going for a build of the PSA AR-V that is focused on home defense, though this excellent firearm is good for a wide variety of circumstances.
First, an excellent red dot sight like the Sig Romeo red dot. We like this optic for the AR-V for a few reasons. First, it’s compact. One of the coolest things about these pistol caliber carbines and AR pistols is how light they are, and we don’t want to reduce that by adding too much heavy stuff to it. Second, the battery on this can last several years which makes it a good call to put on a weapon that is useful for home defense. Finally, this one is set up to co-witness with iron sights, which brings us to our second recommendation.
In addition to a red dot sight, we like having iron sights on our firearms. For this one, we’re recommending the Magpul MBUS sights. These are lightweight sights that flip down and stay out of the way, keeping with the theme of well handling and lightness, which are the things that attract us to firearms like the AR-V in the first place. In this case, we’re going with polymer sights to keep things light, and we like these enough to run them on ARs without any reservations whatsoever. The polymer on these is extremely well made, and the springs for the flip action last years of hard use without any real issues.
Another accessory that we’d consider a must for the PSA AR-V is a sling. Specifically, we’re recommending a single point sling for this application because we envision the sling being the most useful for weapon retention in a home defense situation or during a competition. For long-range, accurate shooting, a two-point sling is more useful, but for something you can toss over your shoulder and simply go to whatever you need to do, a single point sling offers both speed and flexibility.
Because this is a pistol rather than a rifle in this configuration, you can’t put a vertical foregrip on the ARV without running afoul of the ATF. Instead, we recommend a hand stop in a place that you find comfortable. A hand stop like this one fastens quickly to M-Lok rai and gives you a consistent place to put your hand. While it may not seem like a big deal, that added consistency means more accurate rounds on target when seconds or lives are in the balance. 9mm ARs also have more muzzle rise than you’d expect if you have never shot one, so another point or physical contact with the firearm near the muzzle can help to mitigate that.
From the factory, the AR-V comes with PSA’s Flash Can, which is in and of itself a decent muzzle device. It does as advertised and mitigates flash while also getting the muzzle further out from your hands. But, we think the PSA AR-V would shine with a quality suppressor thanks to the fact that this forearm comes in 9mm and is already short.
Being a pistol caliber, 9mm is already well suppressible. In a format like this one, it can get super quiet. Look up some videos of an MP5 shooting suppressed to get an idea of what we mean. With subsonic ammunition, you may get similar results from an AR-V if you can add a suppressor to your setup. Overall, a suppressor will still keep this pistol at a reasonable length for use as something like a pistol caliber carbine, which is one of the major benefits of having a sub 12” barrel to start with.
Adding a red dot, some backup iron sights, a sling, hand stop, and a suppressor would make the AK-V a formidable close-quarters battle weapon, and compared to some of its peers, the money you’ll save on PSAs reasonable asking prices will allow you to explore adding the accessories that you would like to add to the gun.
The model of AR-V that we’re recommending comes as a pistol. In terms of function, it’s no different than other, similar short-barreled rifle ARs in pistol calibers. With that said, there are a few upsides, and some downsides, to having a pistol as opposed to a rifle in this length. DO keep in mind that we are neither lawyers nor, especially, your lawyer. If you have legal questions that are important to you, please retain a licensed firearms attorney in your jurisdiction.
The bad news first: you can’t put a vertical foregrip on this without running afoul of the National Firearms Act. Also, in some states, you have to be older to buy pistols than rifles. Lastly, you have to run a brace instead of a stock.
In terms of upsides, there are more than enough to make up for those two downsides. First and foremost, in the eyes of the law, this is no different than a Glock 19. As long as you can buy one of those, you can legally speaking, buy one of these with our old friend form 4473 and the help of an FLL to handle the shipping. Also, because it’s a pistol, you don’t have to register it with the federal government as a short-barreled rifle, or SBR, and pay those taxes. A perk of this besides the savings is you can drive the PSA AR-V across state lines without worries, assuming you’re legal to have the pistol in both states.
Given that the pistol configuration allows for short barrel lengths, the choice of 9mm is a solid one for the AR-V. Generally, ARs are in 5.56mm. Out of a short barrel, that round loses much of what makes it so effective, namely its muzzler velocity. 9mm, on the other hand, is routinely shot out of 3” barrels in pistols, so the extra length here will, if anything, assist in the ballistic performance of the round. While 9mm can be surprisingly snappy to first-time pistol caliber AR shooters, the relative heft of the PSA AR-V when compared to a standard handgun makes it more than controllable. Configured as we recommend with a hand stop, the PSA AR-V becomes a serious contender in this market space, at a price that’s a good chunk less than its competitors. These days we appreciate those savings, you may be able to even buy ammo (if you can find it).
We’ve enjoyed taking a look at the PSA AR-V. As far as a home defense weapon, there are more than a few good ways to go about setting up a firearm, and we think anyone interested in doing so would do well in considering the AR-V for that purpose. It’s familiar in the hands of AR shooters, functions reliably, and is both light and compact enough to be stashed somewhere discreet in case of emergencies.
With just a few accessories, especially a good sight, the AR-V can be set up not only for home defense but also as a more than capable competition carbine that we’d be happy to run on the clock. The relatively short barrel makes it an excellent candidate for a suppressor as well, which we highly recommend on any 9mm firearm. Overall, the PSA AR-V is an excellent entry into the pistol caliber AR space and we’d recommend that you pick one up if you’re inclined to explore 9mnm AR platform firearms.
As always, we hope you’ve gained something from this review, as we aim to provide fair and informative information not only to entertain but to help guide you and the firearms community to making better decisions.